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April 12, 2021

An Ode to State Testing

I don't know how to make an ode, but I just wanted to let you know the current plan for testing.  

Right now I just want to fast forward the next 4 weeks. Or we can even start the countdown to summer. That’s okay too. I’ve got spring fever and I’m ready for state testing to be over... 

Week of 4/19 ELA testing 
Week of 4/26 Science testing 
Week of 5/3 Math testing 

3 weeks... come on May! 

It probably doesn’t help that we got word that in class and distance learners can not test at the same time. The plan had been that half of the DLs would test with Group A, the other with Group B, so no afternoon testing would be needed, other than make ups. But that now won’t work, so here’s the current revised plan. 

Every morning all the kids will log on for a few minutes to take attendance and go over their must do’s. Then in class will start testing, and at home will go about their daily independent work. 

Monday am - Group A is in class, testing 
Monday pm - all Distance Learners log in and test virtually 

Tuesday am - Group B is in class, testing 
Tuesday pm - anyone not done with that part logs in to finish it up at home

Wednesdays- the only day we are all together, virtually, doing review, catching up, moving forward together. Hopefully we can also have some fun. I feel that testing is going to suck up all the joy of school. :(

Thursdays and Fridays - more testing, same schedule. 

The kids at home that aren’t testing will have work to do that is due that same day. Distance learners will have both days to do the must do’s since they are testing in the afternoons. I figured out a basic outline that I can plug in content. We are still at the limit of 4 hours of school stuff per day, and with testing that pretty much doesn’t leave a lot of other time. 

I figure the only way to move forward is to record intro. videos for Social Studies and Science. I do an overview, and they do the independent work. Then I will also record sections of our novel so they can still listen to our story. We will be starting Ben and Me over the next few testing weeks. :) 

I’ll have to record the lessons the week before to add to our assignment tab and our Weekly Breakdown. So more to do on my to do list. I really like Screencast-o-matic. It has made it so easy this year!! 

For Math, they will be working on their game boards for Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? to review for the math test. It’s a whole thing in itself, so I’ll share about it in a separate post. 

It’s about to get a little crazy up in here... who am I kidding?  I guess it’s been crazy all year long. I can’t wait for things to be back to normal. Whenever that happens it will feel like a piece of cake compared to all this. 

Now I want cake. Baking does relieve some stress. 

Hope you are well. :)

April 8, 2021

Spring Break 2021

It’s spring break. It’s been a beautiful week, full of family time, both inside and outside.

Guess what we’ve done this week?

Easter was a lot of fun. A lot of those traditions that I thought my boys have outgrown, but they haven’t. Kids are still kids.  It’s just changed so the boys were running things. Our egg hunt this year was gigantic. One kid hid eggs for his brothers in the front yard, another kid hid eggs in the backyard, and one hid downstairs in the house. Then we moved from location to location as the other two went racing all over finding the eggs. Some eggs were filled, some were empty. So still the challenge of finding all the eggs, but they didn’t know how much candy they got until it was all over. They had a lot of funwatching their brothers. So much joy. 

We also decorated eggs... This year I used the air fryer to hard boil them. 250 for 16 minutes, then an ice bath for 5 minutes. It worked great and it was nice I didn’t have to boil water, wait for my instant pot to come to pressure, or wait for the oven to preheat. It was definitely the easiest and fastest way to get a lot of eggs done.

Our church had a Good Friday walk through in the parking lot, and Easter services were also outside, chairs in the parking lot, and then we had Easter lunch with my dad and sister. It was really nice. 

The rest of the week has been doing random projects , organizing, and relaxing. 

My oldest is a junior in high school. So this week has also been about visiting college campuses. We’ve visited 5 schools around here. 4 on a single day. With all 5 of us in the car for 6 hours. That’s a lot of numbers. Going back and forth with benefits of junior colleges vs university. Private school vs. public. Small college vs larger. Money stuff... lots of money stuff... Thinking of majors... timelines... Along with all of that I’ve been wrestling that he’s old enough to do all of this. What happened to my baby boy? 

I’ve also spent a lot of time in the passenger seat as my kid practices with his drivers permit. The goal was to tackle 8 hours during spring break. Learning night driving skills and working his way to get ready for the freeway. He’s driven me all over this town and the back roads. Then he’s done the same with his dad. I’m not ready for the freeway. I think he’s ready though.

Have I mentioned lately how much of a control freak I am? 

Yesterday would have been my mom’s birthday. I spent some time with my dad, had her favorite meal for lunch, and we went through their wedding album. Most days don’t hurt anymore, but yesterday was hard. I miss her a lot. She was a great lady, and memories are sweet.

Today I get to have a date day with my husband. Again. After the last year of our dates being the extent of runnings errands together, not being able to leave the boys at home alone for too long, a few Saturdays ago we went to Half Moon Bay for a day. Dropped the kids off with my dad and headed to the beach. It was to celebrate our anniversary. 19 years. :) Today we are doing the same thing but heading to Monterey. I feel blessed. It’s a beautiful day. I hope places are open. That’s the hard part. Not knowing what is open or not. That’s why the kids aren’t coming with us. Well that's one reason...

It’s nice to spend time as a couple. Walking around, not on a schedule, holding hands, sitting and chatting, relaxing in a beautiful setting. I’m so excited. When we are in parent mode there's always a schedule, and we have to keep going and going... we are just like that Energizer Bunny. Today I get to just be with my hubby and I am grateful.  

But come tomorrow real life will descend again, and I have to open up my plan book and make sure everything is ready to go for next week. I have my list with all the review. We have 1 week before state testing starts and it’s time to kick it into full gear. There is so much more to prep with hybrid. 

I wish spring break didn’t have to end. I hope you have had a wonderful break too. 

April 1, 2021

April Fools and Spring Celebration

I really don't like April Fools in the classroom.  I'm not a prankster.  I have no poker face. But I thought maybe this year with a mask, I don't have to work too hard to hide it.  

Today was fun.  

First up, did you know that today was really March 32nd? It really is... honest.  :)  It took until the end of our morning for someone to notice the board.  Maybe they were just being polite.  

I also pulled out the Egged On game.  I do it every year on the day before break.  I filled most of them with a little water, some were empty.  Then I let the kids at home choose which in class kids had to come to the web cam and splat themselves.  We did one person and one egg between each of the subject transitions today.  ;) The in class got to choose which egg they wanted from the container. A lot of kids got wet.  Ha!

This turned on me though, when the kids at home... then the kids in class decided for me to do the final 2 eggs.  The first one I was safe - it was empty. The second one had a lot of water and I got wet. All for the name of fun.  

Another prank that I pulled was the State and Capitals Word Search by Fitted to 4th.  5th graders LOVE word searches.  I love word searches.  With studying our states, this ties in perfectly.  I uploaded it to our TEAM files so the kids at home had access, but I also had printed off a set for myself.  I then took a picture of my papers and added it to our meeting conversation.  My printed pages I put under the document camera for the kids in class.  

We started with the States word search. Calling on kids both in person and online as they found the different locations. They were having a blast.  Then in the 5 minutes before recess we started the Capitals one. I kept encouraging them, said it was a little trickier, that we had to remember our capitals that we'd been studying.  The kids kept saying they were finding them, but it's filled with tons of false starts.  Then they started finding other words... They were getting frustrated since the States one had been so easy.  Finally told them April Fools and we all got a good laugh.  

Other random fun things from today...
*After recess I "made" them get out their playdough to create a 2 minute bunny to show off in front of the camera.  They nicknamed their bunnies either cute or creepy.  Kids at home also had their play dough that they had picked up from the office.
*I gave them a sappy speech about the Glow Eggs.  
*We took time for that Bunny Art project.  I showed off Zentangle Patterns and they decorated their bunnies.  A lot of bunnies ended up with mustaches. :)  
*We did our normal end of week things as well.

It was a lot of fun and now it's really Spring Break!!!